First I want to apologize to all of my followers for not paying attention to the site. Time has taken a different meaning now and I have been preoccupied with many things. The day to day life in prison is not an easy one. Not that doing time is hard it is more or less not having the option to set your own schedules and one finds himself trying to fit 20 hours worth of things to do in what seems like 10. I have been getting up earlier just to get a little personal reading done. Which leaves me beat at night.
As many of you know the conference “Rethinking Prisons” is coming up, May 3rd 2013, and I am scheduled to speak along with a good friend of mine Adam Clausen. (if you didn’t already know you can go and visit http://rethinkingprisons.wordpress.com/ to see about the upcoming events). We have been trying to get some time in to just sit down and talk about this unique experience that is about to happen. We have some good things lined up for dialogue and hope to get many of the participants involved in this conversation. We are also preparing for the many questions that we know will be asked. One of the things that we hope is that people take advantage of this experience of being able to hear directly from two incarcerated men that have spent many years behind bars.
One of the things that I talk to Adam about is how does one come back from something of this magnitude. I mean as it stands I have a upcoming parole date and I will be home soon. I have vowed to take this message out to others, to work hard to establish legitimate and productive alliances to address this issue of recidivism as well as some of social injustices that contribute to this increasingly growing problem. But, that is not the case for my friend. As it stands right now he has 213 years, well he has been in 14 years now so he is at 199 years now. I am amazed at the strength that he has to put himself out there for something of this nature. Knowing that this may be his last global interaction with the free world.
We were walking and talking a few days ago and in the middle of a conversation i stopped him from talking and said, “Adam do you realize that this is going to be the first time that I have had any global interaction with society in 21 years.” He stopped and just looked at me. Maybe he wanted to know my reasons for saying that to him. To me I was thinking of the many different faces, expressions and for some strange reasons colors. Pink in particular. Maybe because the drab colors of prison consist of grey, white and tan. Other than the trim colors of black here and there and the color of steel grey, the colors of the handcuffs and shackles. Maybe that is why I am anxious to just see different colors.
Those are the simple things that one misses when they are incarcerated. Maybe you are saying, “Well if you wanted to look at different colors you should not have done whatever it was that you did.” And, if you are saying this you are right but there is a difference today, a difference that you should hope that everyone in prison at some point comes to terms with. That is the appreciation of life.
See I didn’t appreciate my life nor the lives of those around me. That is the tragedy of all of this. Not that people do bad and wrong. There are many people out there doing bad and wrong but just have never been caught. Hell the biggest weed spot in town is probably on your college campuses. All across America people look for schools that they can go to so they can party. So I guess that as long as you are in college you can get away with it, or at least a slap on the wrist. Well unfortunately it doesn’t work that way for all. My point is not to find fault but to merely express a point that when one understands the value of life they start to experience change.
When guys ask me for a lesson or two I always try to end with the note that if you do nothing else in your life learn how to appreciate the one that you have and the lives of those around you. I think that what was running through my head the other day as I walked with my friend. That right now for whatever it is worth I have come to really appreciate and understand the value of life.
- Conference Highlight: Videolink Presentation from FCI McKean (rethinkingprisons.wordpress.com)